GrandCanyon

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is an immense 1 mile deep and up to 18 mile wide gorge
in the northern Arizona landscape. The Grand Canyon reveals geologic layers up to 1.8 billion years
old, carved by the Colorado River and eroded by thousands of years of wind and rain. Shown below are
scenes from the South Rim viewpoints, two Mary Colter stone structures, and some Grand Canyon wildlife.

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Sunrise_MatherPoint_GrandCanyon_1339


Sunrise Mather Point Grand Canyon 1339

As the sun rises over the Walhalla Plateau, its glow illuminates Wotan’s Throne and Vishnu Temple on
the left side of the image above. Taken from Mather Point, the most popular of the South Rim viewpoints.

Mather Point is to the east of Grand Canyon Village, at the canyon edge beyond the Visitor’s Center.

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Sunrise Mather Point Grand Canyon 1342

The first rays of the sun, peeking over Walhalla Plateau as seen from Mather Point.

Mather Point was named for Stephen Mather, a borax industrialist who was instrumental
in the establishment of the National Parks Service and was Assistant Secretary of the Interior
and the first Head of the National Parks Service. During his 12 year leadership, Mather introduced
concessions to the parks, promoted the creation of the National Park to Park Highway system,
6000 miles of roads which connected 12 of the National Parks in the Western United States,
and encouraged cooperation with the railroads to increase visitation to the remote parks.

MatherPointView_atSunrise_1367


Mather Point View at Sunrise 1367

The view to the west from Mather Point at sunrise. In the foreground right is Plateau Point, with the
trail crossing to the Rim at the edge of Granite Gorge. In the upper left center is Osiris Temple, and
at the upper right center is Isis Temple. Below and to the right of Isis Temple is Cheops Pyramid.

Members of the 1869 and 1871-72 Powell Surveys provided many of the prominent features
of the Grand Canyon with names from Norse, Buddhist, Egyptian and Middle Eastern deities.

MatherPointView_atSunrise_1393_16x9


Mather Point View at Sunrise 1393 16x9

A 1600 x 990 image of the area shown in the left center of the image above, taken 15 minutes later.

The Grand Canyon exposes much of the early geology of the North American continent. Recent studies
have determined that the canyon was cut beginning about 17 million years ago, revealing rocks from the
1.8 billion year old Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the gorge to the 230 million year old Kaibab Limestone
on the rim. There is a gap in the gorge between the 525 million year old rocks and the 1.8 billion year old
Vishnu Schist on the floor of the canyon, where the Grand Canyon Supergroup rocks were eroded away.

MatherPointView_atSunrise_pano


Mather Point View at Sunrise pano

A 1600 x 693 version of the 4000 x 1625 XL composite, a two-shot panorama showing the upper section of the
Tower of Set (lower left), the Tower of Ra (left center), and Osiris Temple (right center) from Mather Point at sunrise.

Much of the rock in the Grand Canyon was deposited when the area was a shallow sea, with beaches and swamps.
The area was uplifted beginning about 65 million years ago at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. The uplift steepened
the gradient of the Colorado River and tributaries, increasing their speed and ability to cut through rock. Along with
the increased amount of water flowing during the Ice Ages, these conditions led to formation of the Grand Canyon.
About 5 million years ago, the Gulf of California opened and lowered the Colorado River’s base level, increasing
its speed and the rate of erosion. Between 5 and 1.2 million years ago, most of the canyon depth was eroded.

MatherPointStorm_GrandCanyon_1183_16x9


Mather Point Storm Grand Canyon 1183 16x9

A late afternoon storm over Trinity Creek, between Osiris Temple and Isis Temple from Mather Point.
In the center foreground is Plateau Point with the trail leading to the Rim. Directly above Plateau Point
is Cheops Pyramid, left and beyond Cheops Pyramid is Isis Temple. Phantom Canyon is on the right.

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Mather Point North Rim at Sunset 1668

The Walhalla Plateau on the North Rim at sunset from Mather Point, showing the area just to the west of Wotans Throne.

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Mather Point North Rim at Sunset 1682

Angels Gate (right) and the Kaibab Plateau on the North Rim, taken at sunset from Mather Point.

MatherPoint_SunsetMoon_1696


Mather Point Sunset Moon 1696

The moon rising over Walhalla Plateau at sunset, showing the area between Walhalla Overlook and Cape Final.

MatherPoint_TwilightMoon_1701


Mather Point Twilight Moon 1701

The Moon over the Walhalla Plateau, taken from Mather Point at twilight.

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YavapaiPoint_EastView_GrandCanyon_1174


Yavapai Point East View Grand Canyon 1174

A late afternoon view to the east from Yavapai Point, the next viewpoint west from Mather Point.

In the foreground is Cedar Ridge and the southwestern face of O’Neill Butte. At left center is
Sumner Butte, Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple. Walhalla Plateau is on the horizon, and
at center left is Ottoman Amphitheater. At center is Wotans Throne, Thor Temple, Angels Gate,
Hawkin’s Butte and Patti Butte. The distance across the canyon here is roughly 15-16 miles.

On the opposite side of Cedar Ridge is the South Kaibab Trail, a 6.5 mile trail that drops 4800 feet
down to the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This is the beginning of a 16 mile loop
from the South Kaibab Trailhead to the Bright Angel Trailhead, which is normally a 2-3 day hike that
my wife and I did in a single day (early morning to midnight) two years earlier, during the summer.

This was really not a good idea. I carried 3 liters of water, plus food and several layers of clothing
for both of us, and my wife carried food and a 24 oz. water bottle. We ran out of water at the Tip-Off
(about 2.5 miles before the bottom of the South Kaibab Trail) and had to continue to Indian Garden
Campground (7.3 more miles) at 100 degrees, without water, when we were already dehydrated.
We replenished at the Campground and made it out, but I suggest taking two days for this hike.

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Yavapai Point East View Detail Grand Canyon 1199

A telephoto view of Walhalla Plateau and Wotans Throne, with Hawkin’s Butte in the center and Angels Gate at upper right.

YavapaiPoint_EastViewDetail_GrandCanyon_1198


Yavapai Point East View Detail Grand Canyon 1198

A telephoto view over Cedar Ridge, looking to the east from Yavapai Point towards Walhalla Overlook and Cape Final.

The area shown in the two images above is in the upper center of the image below.

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Yavapai Point East View Grand Canyon 1177

A view over Cedar Ridge from the eastern end of Yavapai Point. Center is Wotan’s Throne and Vishnu Temple.

Yavapai Point is at the end of the peninsula to the east of Grand Canyon Village and reaches further out into the
 canyon than other South Rim viewpoints east of the Village. There is an observation station with historical exhibits.

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Isis Temple at Sunrise 1379

Isis Temple at sunrise from Mather Point.

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Isis Temple at Sunset 1680

Isis Temple at sunset from Yavapai Point.

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Isis Temple Grandeur Point 1435

Isis Temple at mid-morning from Grandeur Point.

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Battleship at Sunrise Grand Canyon 1724

Battleship at sunrise from Grand Canyon Village.

Isis Temple and Battleship are two of the more prominent Grand Canyon landmarks. You can see from the
set of images above that the light changes radically throughout the day. From mid-morning to late afternoon,
colors in the canyon wash out and contrast suffers greatly, which makes processing the images interesting.

GrandeurPointStorm_GrandCanyon_1200_16x9


Grandeur Point Storm Grand Canyon 1200 16x9

A late afternoon storm over Osiris Temple, Shiva Temple and Trinity Creek (at left) approaches
Battleship and Granite Gorge in the foreground. The lit formation in the right center is Isis Temple.

Grandeur Point is on the Rim Trail west of Yavapai Point, at the western base of the peninsula to the
east of Grand Canyon Village. This view is from the Rim Trail just east of the Grandeur Point promontory.

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Grandeur Point Storm Grand Canyon 1204

The storm over Trinity Creek, from Grandeur Point promontory. At left center is the Battleship, and at the
right center is Garden Creek, Indian Garden and the Bright Angel Trail extension leading to Plateau Point.

Beyond Plateau Point is Granite Gorge, the main fissure cut by the Colorado River. Past Granite Gorge
are over 6 miles of canyons, buttes and colorfully-named pyramidal formations. On the horizon, the Kaibab
and Walhalla Plateaus of the North Rim are more than 1000 feet higher than the South Rim, due to uneven
 uplift of the Colorado Plateau. The South Rim is at about 7000 feet, and the North Rim is 8000-8400 feet.

GrandeurPointStorm_GrandCanyon_1207


Grandeur Point Storm Grand Canyon 1207

The view from the Grandeur Point promontory, looking out over the Battleship in the foreground towards
the storm over Osiris and Shiva Temples and Trinity Creek. At right center is Isis Temple. On the horizon
to the right of center is the North Kaibab Plateau, overlooking the canyon from the North Rim at 8000 feet.

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Grandeur Point Battleship Plateau Point 1209

GrandeurPoint_Battleship_PlateauPoint_1214


Grandeur Point Battleship Plateau Point 1214

Three views from Grandeur Point promontory on the Rim Trail which show the variable light in the canyon.

The scenes above show the Battleship, Garden Creek, and the trail from Indian Garden Campground leading
to the edge of Plateau Point, with Cheops Pyramid, Isis Temple and the Kaibab Plateau in the right distance.
The image below, taken from further west on the Rim Trail, offers a better view of Cheops Pyramid (center).

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Grandeur Point Grand Canyon 1208

The view from Grandeur Point, with the Bright Angel trail extension to Plateau Point and Granite Gorge
in the foreground. The lit formation in the center is Cheops Pyramid. In the distance, below the Kaibab
Plateau on the horizon, are Isis Temple, Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple (left center to far right).

The first evidence of human presence in the Grand Canyon area is from about 10,500 years ago, when
nomadic hunter-gatherers passed through the area. This continued for about 6500 years, when the first
split-twig figurines were made by semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers of the Desert Culture who lived in the
canyon. The Desert Culture evolved into the Ancestral Pueblo people of the early Basketmaker culture,
also known as the Anasazi or Hisatsinom, who later became the Pueblo people (links follow leading to
other parts of the Southwest section: Anasazi, Chaco Culture and Pueblo). The first Europeans to see
the canyon were part of the Coronado quest to find the Seven Cities of Gold (Cibola) in 1540. Led to
the South Rim by Hopi guides, they found only pueblos, not cities of gold. In 1776, two Spanish priests
were the next Europeans to arrive at the North Rim, and a Franciscan missionary saw the canyon from
the South Rim near Havasupai. In 1826, American trappers and mountain men reached the canyon.

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Grandeur Point Plateau Point Isis Temple 1431

The view from the Grandeur Point promontory at mid-morning, just before the color begins to wash out
of the canyon and the contrast begins to suffer. Compare this with the image below, taken an hour later.

The image shows the trail leading to Plateau Point in the foreground, dropping off into Granite Gorge.
At left center is Cheops Pyramid, and in the distance below the North Kaibab Plateau on the horizon are
the capstones of Isis Temple (left), Buddha Temple (center), Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple (right).

The first geologic observations of the canyon were made for the 1856 Pacific Railroad Survey.
In 1857, the Ives Expedition through the area traveled along the South Rim, and the geologist
in the party was later responsible for convincing John Wesley Powell to complete the survey.

Powell led the first exploratory expedition (1869) through the Southwest down the Green
and Colorado Rivers. This first expedition was poorly funded and had no photographer or
artist. Powell followed up with a better funded expedition in 1871, with both a photographer
and an artist, and painter Thomas Moran later joined the group. The photos, illustrations and
paintings from this expedition and Powell’s later lecture tours popularized the canyonlands
region of the Southwest, made him famous, and the director of the US Geological Survey.

Battleship_IsisTemple_BuddhaTemple_1455


Battleship Isis Temple Buddha Temple 1455

A similar view taken from Grand Canyon Village further west and an hour later shows the Battleship in the
foreground leading to Cheops Pyramid (right center), the tip of Plateau Point at far right, and the pyramidal
formations of Isis Temple, Buddha Temple, Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple below Kaibab Plateau.
Note the reduced contrast and color saturation in the canyon (compare with the images above and below).

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Battleship Indian Garden Plateau Point 1527

An early afternoon view from the Rim Trail between Grand Canyon Village and Grandeur Point.

At left is the Battleship, in the center is Garden Creek and Bright Angel Trail, the green area is Indian Garden
and Campground, leading to the trail from Indian Garden to Plateau Point. Bright Angel Trail drops into the cut
after the trees. Beyond Granite Gorge is Bright Angel Canyon leading to the Kaibab Plateau. At the far left is
 Isis Temple, and directly in line with the Battleship is Cheops Pyramid. Beyond and right of Cheops Pyramid
is Buddha Temple, and on the opposite side of Bright Angel Canyon is Sumner Butte and Brahma Temple.

Battleship_IndianGarden_PlateauPoint_1598


Battleship Indian Garden Plateau Point 1598

The scene from the Rim Trail west of Grandeur Point in the mid-afternoon about three hours later,
as color saturation and contrast in the canyon are just beginning to return with the late afternoon light.

In the center foreground is the Battleship, and below it is Indian Garden and the trail leading to Plateau
Point. In the distance, left beyond the Battleship, are the Tower of Set, Osiris Temple and the Kaibab
Plateau (horizon). In the distance at right are Isis Temple, Buddha Temple, and Cheops Pyramid.

Achieving long-range scenic images with decent color saturation and contrast at Grand Canyon
from mid-morning through the mid-afternoon requires using every trick during image processing.

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Direct Links:

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HopiHouse_GrandCanyon_1450_16x9


Hopi House Grand Canyon 1450 16x9

Hopi House is a multi-story stone masonry structure shaped like a Hopi Pueblo, designed by architect and
interior designer Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and built in 1904-05 as a concession facility on the South Rim.
A part of the Grand Canyon Village, it stands opposite the El Tovar Hotel, also built in 1905. Colter designed
Hopi House as a sort of living museum, where Hopi artisans could live and produce arts and crafts on site.

Ever since tourism began at the Grand Canyon in 1882, this area of the South Rim has been a popular
location to visitors to the canyon. Early travelers who arrived from Lee’s Ferry after 1872 often camped
in this area, and over the next 20 years loosely organized services were built in what would eventually
become Grand Canyon Village. In 1896, the Grand Canyon Hotel opened, and in 1901 a spur of the
Santa Fe Railroad first came to Grand Canyon Village, greatly increasing tourism. The Santa Fe
designated Fred Harvey as chief concessionaire, and built the Hopi House and El Tovar Hotel.

Grand Canyon Village is the largest planned tourism development in a National Park. It was
originally centered around the terminus of the railroad, and expanded as the Fred Harvey
Company and the railroad built facilities. In 1910, after the building of the new (current)
railroad depot, it was decided that a plan should be established before development
continued, and in 1924 a master plan for structures and infrastructure was completed
by National Park Service landscape architect Daniel Ray Hull. The arrangements for
parking, street and building orientation are one of the earliest in a planned community.

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Hopi House Grand Canyon 1451

Hopi House was made from local stone, and was Colter’s first building for Fred Harvey, the chief concessionaire. Before this she had primarily been an interior designer. Her work inspired the Pueblo Deco architectural style (Art Deco/Pueblo Revival).

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Hopi House Raven Grand Canyon 1551

A raven looks over the canyon from a perch on Hopi House.

Mary Colter’s design was based upon her interpretation of a Hopi dwelling in Oraibi, AZ, with the roofs acting as terraces.

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Hopi House Terrace Ladder 1545

HopiHouse_WagonWheel_1552


Hopi House Wagon Wheel 1552

Ladders lead from the first floor roof terrace to the second story and from the second story terrace to the
roof terrace above the third floor. At right is a decorative 19th century wagon wheel in front of Hopi House.

Hopi House is one of four Colter Grand Canyon structures designated as National Historic Landmarks.

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Lookout Studio Grand Canyon 1662

Lookout Studio, the Battleship, Plateau Point and the Grand Canyon in the late afternoon.

Lookout Studio is a stone building on a parapet overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Another one of Mary Jane Colter’s National Historical Landmark buildings, it was built in 1914 by the
Santa Fe Railway (for which Fred Harvey operated the concessions) to compete with the Kolb Studio,
which had been operating 100 yards down the path for 10 years providing photography and postcards
of the canyon. Lookout Studio was purposely built on a spot on the rim which distracted visitors from
traveling further along the rim to Kolb Studio. It offered the same sort of photography and postcards
as well as other gifts, plus expansive views from the windows and telescopes on terrace porches.

The Kolb Brothers had built their photographic studio at the Bright Angel trailhead in 1904, and
took pictures of hikers and mule caravans on their way into the canyon. They processed prints
before the subjects returned and sold them, along with postcards and scenic prints, when the
people returned to the rim. In 1911, they used the newly-invented Pathe-Bray motion picture
camera to make the first film of a river trip through the Grand Canyon (it was only the eighth
successful river journey). This film was shown twice a day to tourists from 1915-1976 (Fred
Harvey was feuding with the Kolb Brothers, preventing them from showing it before 1915).
In 1915, the Kolb Brothers built an extension onto their studio to act as a theater, allowing
them to show their film, which still holds the title for the longest running film in US history.

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Lookout Studio at Sunrise 1720

Lookout Studio in the center of Grand Canyon Village, illuminated by magnificent golden light at sunrise.

Built into the canyon rim, the native stone structure (originally known as “the Lookout”) appears to grow out
of the South Rim. The stone rubble and coursed stone resembles 12th century Ancestral Pueblo architecture,
and the roughly rectangular building has exposed vigas (log roof supports) typical in Southwestern architecture.
Mary Colter included a large number of windows in Lookout Studio, making it her most well-illuminated design.

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MaricopaPoint_Battleship_PlateauPoint_1749


Maricopa Point Battleship Plateau Point 1749

A view of the Battleship from almost directly overhead at Maricopa Point, west of Grand Canyon Village.
Beyond the Battleship is the end of Plateau Point and the trail leading to the precipice of Granite Gorge.
On the upper left, Phantom Canyon and Bright Angel Canyon meet the Colorado River at Granite Gorge.

MaricopaPoint_DanaButte_Tower_ofSet_1747


Maricopa Point Dana Butte Tower of Set 1747

The view to the west from Maricopa Point, looking over Dana Butte towards the Tower of Set and
Osiris Temple just left of center. On the far right is Isis Temple. Maricopa Point, the first point west
of the Village, is on a narrow promontory with an unobstructed 180 degree view of Grand Canyon.

OrphanMine_GrandCanyon_1751


Orphan Mine Grand Canyon 1751

Just west of Maricopa Point are the remains of the Orphan Mine, a copper and uranium mine that
produced some of the purest uranium in the US. This is the main shaft entrance to the “Glory Hole”.

In 1893 a claim was filed on a copper outcropping 1100 feet below the South Rim two miles west of
Grand Canyon Village. From 1906, copper and other metals were mined for a few years, until it became
difficult to extract the small amount of copper, at which point Dan Hogan turned his claim, which included
four acres on the South Rim, into a tourist destination which operated until it closed during World War II.
Hogan sold the property (the only privately held land in Grand Canyon National Park) in 1946, and the
new owner reopened the tourist destination until geologists found high-grade uranium deposits in
1951, and the owner sold the Orphan Lode Mine claim to a private mining company to develop
and extract the purest deposit of uranium ore in the United States between 1956 and 1969.

The vertical shaft of the Orphan Mine reaches 1600 feet deep into a brecchia pipe, which was
created when erosion of limestone caused the layers above to collapse, which provided a conduit
for groundwater movement and mineralized solutions which formed copper and uranium ores. The
discovery of uranium in  the Orphan Mine brecchia pipe led to the discovery of other ore-containing
brecchia pipes in Northern Arizona and other parts of the Southwest. The Orphan Mine yielded
4.2 million pounds of triuranium octoxide (a uranium compound), nearly 7 million pounds of
copper, 107,000 ounces of silver and 3400 pounds of vanadium in 13 years of operation.

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Orphan Mine Headframe Grand Canyon 1755

To support mining activities, an aerial tramway was built to help lift the ore from the shaft
to the upper mine facilities on the South Rim. In 1959, the tram was replaced with a hoisting
shaft supported by the 80 foot tall steel headframe shown above. The mine ceased operation
in 1969, and the mine was later abandoned when the owners went bankrupt. Recent studies
determined that the radiation levels on external structures were high, and that uranium had
contaminated the nearby Horn Creek and other groundwater. All external structures were
recently removed and cleanup of radiation contamination at the site continues today.

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Powell Point Battleship 1765

The view west from Powell Point shows the Battleship in the foreground and Granite Gorge traversing
the image from center left to right. Entering the image at upper left is Bright Angel Canyon, and on the
horizon are the Kaibab and Walhalla Plateaus, with Wotans Throne and Vishnu Temple right of center.

Powell Point is the next point to the west of Maricopa Point, just beyond the Orphan Mine site.
The viewpoint was named for John Wesley Powell, who led two expeditions on the Colorado River
(1869 and 1872). The 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition was the first thorough exploration down the
Green River and Colorado River, including the first known passage through the Grand Canyon. Powell
later went on lecture tours and the photos, drawings and paintings from his expeditions did much to
popularize the Southwest and were instrumental in the creation of the first National Parks. Powell
was later appointed as the second director of the US Geological Survey and was also director
of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, which he helped to
create, and then published an influential classification of North American Indian languages.

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Powell Point Powell Memorial 1766

The memorial  to John Wesley Powell at Powell Point, where the 1920 dedication ceremony for the National Park was held.

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Powell Point Tower of Set 1763

A detail view to the west from Powell Point showing the Tower of Ra, Tower of Set, Osiris Temple and Shiva Temple.

In 1882, then-Senator Benjamin Harrison introduced a bill to establish a National Park at the Grand Canyon.
The bill died in committee due to lobbying by landowners and those with logging and mining claims. He tried
to reintroduce the bill unsuccessfully in 1883 and 1886, but the same special interests blocked its passage.
In 1893 Harrison, then President of the USA, declared the Grand Canyon as a National Forest Preserve to
provide the area with some protection. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon in 1903
during his trip to the Western US (including Yellowstone National Park), and to further protect the area
he established the Grand Canyon Game Preserve, later adding adjacent National Forest lands and
designating the area as a National Monument in 1908. The special interest groups continued to
block the formation of the National Park for another 11 years, until an Act of Congress signed
into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 established the Grand Canyon National Park.

PowellPoint_DanaButte_Tower_ofSet_1762


Powell Point Dana Butte Tower of Set 1762

A wider angle view from Powell Point, looking over Dana Butte in the foreground. In the far left distance
is the conical Tower of Ra protruding above a ridge. The arc at left center is the Tower of Set, with the
cone and capstone behind it of Osiris Temple. To the right of Osiris Temple is Shiva Temple. Across
Salt Creek at the right is Isis Temple, and traversing the image beyond Dana Butte is Granite Gorge.

HopiPoint_DanaButte_Tower_ofSet_1776


Hopi Point Dana Butte Tower of Set 1776

A similar scene taken from Hopi Point, the next point west from Powell Point. This view looks out over
Dana Butte in the center foreground at Granite Gorge, traversing the image. Deep within Granite Gorge
is the Colorado River. On the far left is the arc of the Tower of Set and beyond that is Osiris Temple and
Shiva Temple. Right of center is Isis Temple, and at far right beyond Granite Gorge is Cheops Pyramid.

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Hopi Point Alligator Tower of Set 1770

The view further to the west from Hopi Point, looking over the ridge called the Alligator at left.
Over the top of the Alligator you can make out the Colorado River at the bottom of Granite Gorge.
On the far right of the image are the arc of the Tower of Set, Osiris Temple and Shiva Temple.

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Wildlife

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Havasupai Mule Deer Juvenile 1410

A young Mule Deer at sunrise in the Havasupai area, west of Grand Canyon National Park.

Mule Deer, or Black-tailed Deer are named for their large mule-like ears. The differences between
the Black-tailed Deer and White-tailed deer are the size of the ears, the color of their tails, and the
fact that Black-tailed Deer’s antlers are bifurcated (they fork as they grow rather than branching off
from the main stem). The antlers begin to grow immediately after mating season in the spring, just
after the old antlers are shed. The Mule Deer is also generally larger than the White-tailed Deer.

AbertsSquirrel_GrandCanyon_1580_16x9


Abert’s Squirrel Grand Canyon 1580 16x9

An Abert’s Squirrel scurrying through the forest litter on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Named after Colonel John J. Abert, a naturalist who headed the Corps of Topographic Engineers
for 32 years (during which time he organized the effort to map the lands west of the Mississippi River),
the Abert’s Squirrel (or tassel-eared squirrel) is a tree squirrel generally found in the Rocky Mountains of
Arizona, New Mexico, SW Colorado and Utah, and the Grand Canyon, although I have encountered them
in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California as well. They prefer Ponderosa pine forests and
build nests in the upper branches of Ponderosa pine trees with interlocking crowns (escape routes).

AbertsSquirrel_GrandCanyon_1575-76


Abert’s Squirrel Grand Canyon 1575-76
(no linked image)

Abert’s Squirrels are gray with a white underbelly and a prominent rust-red patch on the back and
at the base of their ears (except in the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, where they are black).

AbertsSquirrel_GrandCanyon_1589M


Abert’s Squirrel Grand Canyon 1589 M

AbertsSquirrel_GrandCanyon_1590M


Abert’s Squirrel Grand Canyon 1590 M

1500 x 1290 images of an Abert’s Squirrel munching a nut in a pine tree on the Grand Canyon South Rim.
The light in the branches of this tree was very low, and fill flash was used (minimal flash in the image at left).

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Abert’s Squirrel Grand Canyon 1592 M

1500 x 1290 image of an Abert’s Squirrel preparing to jump from a branch on the Grand Canyon South Rim.

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Cliff Chipmunk Grand Canyon 1487

A Cliff Chipmunk on a wall over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Cliff Chipmunks are fast, agile ground-dwelling chipmunks which occasionally climb trees for food.
They can be identified by less distinct stripes on their backs than other species. Cliff Chipmunks do
not store fat and hibernate, instead storing food in their burrows. The females are larger than males.

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Dark-eyedJunco_GrandCanyon_1470


Dark-eyed Junco Grand Canyon 1470

While waiting for a California Condor to show up on the South Rim, I took a few shots of Dark-eyed Juncos,
a common Passerine similar to the Fox Sparrow. Males are considerably darker than females (male above).

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Dark-eyed Junco Grand Canyon 1482

A Gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco female on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Note the rust-colored back.

Juncos nest and forage on the ground, generally in coniferous forests, and mainly eat insects and seeds.

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CaliforniaCondor_GrandCanyon_1485M


California Condor Grand Canyon 1485 M

“M” designated landscape images are 1500 x 1290.

California Condor #22, perched at the precipice of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The California Condor is a New World vulture and the largest North American land bird. One of the
world’s rarest birds, the California Condor became extinct in the wild in 1987 due to poaching, lead
poisoning and habitat destruction (all 22 of the remaining wild birds were captured and taken to the
San Diego Wild Animal Park and the LA Zoo for breeding. A successful captive breeding program
saved the California Condor from extinction, and beginning in 1991 they were reintroduced back
into the wild in California, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, and Baja California, Mexico. In the
last several years wild-reared condor chicks have successfully fledged. The released birds
are numbered to assist in their identification by the conservation researchers in the field.

The three images of condors on this page were taken from a significant distance.

Click this link for a 1200 x 1500 pixel close portrait of a California Condor.

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California Condor Grand Canyon 1650 M

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California Condor Grand Canyon 1651 M

California Condor #19 on a rocky perch over the South Rim near Mather Point in the late afternoon.

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Raven Transportation Decision 1562

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Raven Overflight Grand Canyon 1531

A raven over Grand Canyon Village in the early afternoon.

Shooting ravens in flight is exceptionally difficult, as there is very little contrast for the camera to lock focus on unless you lock on the beak or a wing edge where it meets the sky, and achieving proper exposure is critical to reveal feather details.
 

At left, a raven at the Railway Depot in Grand Canyon Village attempts to decide whether to take the train or hitch a ride in a 4x4 off-road truck to save some energy. The Railway Depot was built in 1909-10 and is a National Historic Landmark. The log and wood structure is one of 14 log depots built in the US, and one of only three remaining log depots. Grand Canyon Railway has been operating since 1901.

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1491

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1525

Ruby-Crowned Kinglets taking in the sights at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet is one of the smallest of the Passerine songbirds in North America.
About 4” long, they weigh about a third of an ounce, roughly the weight of three typical hummingbirds.
The males have a red crown patch, usually concealed by the surrounding feathers except during display.

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1501

This little Kinglet exhibited serious attitude and was one of the original “Angry Birds”.

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1503

Ruby-Crowned Kinglets are usually quite active, flicking their wings and hopping about.
This one was kind enough to pause for a moment, allowing me to shoot a ‘studio portrait’.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Arizona Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Links:

Grand Canyon      Sedona, Williams and Lake Havasu

Canyon de Chelly & Arizona Sinagua Sites

Antelope Canyon    Antelope Canyon Fractal Composites

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AssortedArizona


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Assorted Arizona page.

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Click the Display Composite above to visit the Canyon de Chelly page.

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Click the Display Composite above to visit the Antelope Canyon page.

Southwest


Click the Display Composite above to return to the Southwest Section Index page.

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